Home Sport Boxing Two Portlaoise boxers bidding for glory at National Finals

Two Portlaoise boxers bidding for glory at National Finals

Wayne Kelly and Michael Nevin of Portlaoise Boxing Club are bidding for glory
Wayne Kelly and Michael Nevin of Portlaoise Boxing Club who claim National title last night

Two members of Portlaoise Boxing Club will be hoping to win National titles on Saturday at Dublin’s National Stadium.

Michael Nevin and Wayne Kelly, who is from Ballynacargy in Westmeath but boxes for Portlaoise, will go for glory from 6.15pm.

Kelly is up first as he goes in the 64kg decider agaisnt Caoimhin Ferguson of Clonard A which Nevin clashing against Brett McGinty Oakleaf in the 75kg showpiece.

Nevin has been boxing with Portlaoise since he was 10-years-of-age.

He is the only man to win three European Championship gold medals – having triumphed at Schoolboy, Junior, Youth levels in the past.

In total, Nevin has won 10 National Titles and Nevin rounded off his underage career in 2016 with a World Youth bronze.

Saturday sees Nevin take on Oakleaf’s McGinty, the last Irish fighter to defeat him.

Back in 2016, when both were welterweights, the Derry-Donegal pressure fighter defeated Nevin in the U-18 Championships, with the rapidly growing Nevin moving up to the more comfortable middleweight class immediately afterwards.

Club coach and former IABA President Pat Ryan says that Nevin’s goal is to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

He said: “Michael is one of the wonder boys – he ticks all the boxes.

“He is a fantastic trainer, is well mannered, well behaved and takes instruction very well. Characteristics that are very important for anyone trying to make it.

“He has a brilliant support team around him and he is very grateful to all of them for what they do. The goal with Michael is to get to Tokyo.”

Ryan also has high hopes for his other boxer who will be competing on the night – Wayne Kelly.

Kelly was defeated by Sean McCombe in the same final last year and will be hoping to go one better against Caoimhin Ferguson this time.

Ryan said: “Wayne is young and all he wants to do is learn.

“Him mam Linda, his dad Billy and his grandad Tom are a great support to him. Anywhere he needs to go, they make sure he gets there.

“He comes over to us from Ballynacargy with his younger brother Adam who was beaten in the semi final.

“His dad runs the boxing club in Ballynacargy and we have a great relationship with them. I coached Wayne’s uncle Alo Kelly to the European Championships in 1995.

“So he has great pedigree and works so hard to improve.”

You can watch the fights live on RTE 2 and the coverage starts at 7.30pm.

SEE ALSO – Appeal from parish priest following Portlaoise robbery

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.